Offday Thoughts

Thursday, October 6, 2005, 10:10 pm

Caution

You probably read all of the comments from our players, AJ and Mark Buehrle in particular, about how a 2-0 lead against a team like the Boston Red Sox means nothing.  I was pleased to see how cautious our team appears heading into tomorrow’s game because it should be.  Our players well understand how difficult that third victory can be, especially with two games on tap at Fenway Park, and we are taking nothing for granted.

The approach of our staff and players all summer has been to stay consistent and stay focused on the present.  We haven’t gotten too high with the highs or too low with the lows.  The same is true now.

I was struck on the flight out late last night by how workman-like the mood was.  No one was celebrating or feeling overconfident.  We haven’t won anything yet.

What a Difference …

A week can make.  Remember the mood of respondents to this blog after we dropped the first two games to the Tigers?  People were burning their Sox gear, were embarassed by this team and were never going to cheer for the team again.  Seems like a long time ago and underscores why we need to remain consistent … not too high, not too low.

RowandbpSound Byte

Center fielder Aaron Rowand wore a microphone for MLB Productions during Game 1 of this series.  The results had the producers from MLB Productions roaring.  "This might have been the best stuff of the season," one told me.

During the game, Aaron dove back into second base (to a thud), was involved in a slide at home plate, and then ran headlong into the left center field fence.

After colliding with the fence, Aaron was heard to mutter to himself, "Wow, that hurt.  That really, really hurt."

When I told him today about how much MLB enjoyed his comments, Aaron laughed.  "I didn’t even remember I had the mike on.  I was just talking to myself."

Earlier this year, as the Sox were going through a particularly tough inning, Rowand leaned into the mic and muttered, "Uncle."

Hitting the Knuckleball

With knuckballer Tim Wakefield on the mound tomorrow, I spoke with White Sox hitting coach Greg Walker about how to approach the knuckleball.

"You need to hit it with technique, not power," Walker explained.  "We have quite a few guys who do that well.  You can’t try to hit it the other way or necessarily pull it because you don’t know which way it will break.  You just need to put a solid swing on it."

Walker, who hit knuckleballers like Phil Niekro, Tom Candiotti and Charlie Hough well during his career, said hitting the ball squarely was the key.  "I may have hit 10 home runs, but each one barely went over.  You don’t want to drive the ball, just meet it."

Several Sox took an extra round of batting practice as Kevin Hickey threw knuckleballs to them.

White Sox Wire

For those of you who are whitesox.com registered users, the last White Sox Wire (sent Monday) featured two neat items:  1. the recent highlight video that played on the ballpark’s scoreboard during the last homestand; and 2. a montage of all the magazine covers and newspaper photos from the year.  Check it out when you have the chance.  I know a lot of people were looking for a copy of that video.

Tickets On Sale

Tickets to potential LCS games at U.S. Cellular Field went on sale today at noon.  Demand was intense.  Close to 40,000 tickets were sold to the general public in 48 minutes via on-line and TicketMaster phone lines.  At peak time, 137,000 people were in line on their computers to purchase tickets.  That type of demand is through the roof, but it also means many Sox fans ended up disappointed and without tickets to one of the four possible games.  There were no problem with the system, just incredible demand for tickets.

OzzieoffdayWorkout

The team arrived in Boston late last night (2:30 am-ish).  We worked out today at 4 pm at Fenway.  A "workout" means about 1:15 of infield practice (to get use to the infield) and batting practice.  Fenway Park used to have one of the worst infields in the American League (remember the year Robin Ventura started the season with something like four errors in the first week), but Roger Bossard, our groundskeeper extraordinaire, replaced the entire field last offseason.  The playing surface now looks a lot like U.S. Cellular Field.

The mood was light and relaxed to the point where Boston television reporters were shocked by the mood.  Ozzie Guillen can do that to you …

Dinner

The White Sox media relations staff and several MLB executives took in dinner tonight at The Capital Grille.  Also in the restaurant were Jose Contreras and Bronson Arroyo.  No truth to the ugly rumor that one MLB broadcasting executive ordered four bottles of wine (please note, this is not true but is placed in the blog so that some mischevious employees at MLB can give another a very hard time).

Media

A friend called today from Chicago and asked how hard the Boston media was on the Red Sox after last night’s loss.

I told him it was quite the opposite.  Boston television and media spent the day reminding Bostonians about how the Red Sox have repeatedly rallied from 0-2 deficits in Division Series play and how fans needed to not panic and support the "hometown team."

They certainly are not anywhere close to giving up yet.

Kudos to Tony Graffanino, a great guy.  He stood and faced the media, explaining how badly he felt in making that play.  To a man, the Sox were ecstatic with the victory but sorry that it came at the expense of a friend and person like Tony.  He gains everyone’s respect with how he handled himself after misplaying that ball.

Front Office

A charter with White Sox front office employees and Sox family arrives tomorrow midday in time for the 4 pm game.  They will bring enthusiasm.

It will be interesting to see how well White Sox fans are represented at Fenway Park.  When we played here in August, Sox fan turnout was impressive. 

JohnwayneThe Power of John Wayne

Not sure if you saw the feature on Comcast Sports Net Chicago but it merits explanation.

When we were struggling in September, a good friend of Jerry Reinsdorf sent him a painted porcelin mannequin of John Wayne (about 18 inches high), saying it brought good luck, so Jerry should use it.  The statue was damaged in shipping and its legs mangled, so it remains in its cardboard box.

Willing to try anything (or desperate if that is the term you prefer), Jerry took it to his suite for a game. We won.  And then won again.  The mannequin is now propped up in Jerry’s suite for each and every game.

The stranger part is this.

When Jerry went to Detroit on Thursday, he decided not to risk fate.  He placed the mannequin in front of the television at his house with the channel turned to Comcast.  Jerry Reinsdorf, owner of the Bulls and White Sox, then placed a note on his television set telling anyone who approached over the next five days (Mrs. Reinsdorf?, the maid? a grandchild?) to not dare turn off the television. 

"When the season is over, I probably need to return the statue," Jerry said.  "But if we are fortunate enough to win this all, there is no way it’s going back.  It’s mine."

Games Times

Saturday, if necessary, is now set for 1 pm ET (noon in Chicago).  Sunday, if necessary, will be at 3 pm CT if the Yankees and Angels are still playing, or at 6 pm CT if that series has ended.

9 to go.

52 Comments

Thanks for the long post, Scott.

I’m a registered user, but I don’t think I receive the White Sox Wire – can someone who does forward the email to this address? I’d REALLY like to get my hands on that highlight video.

And when/how will this Rowand material be available to the public?

I was thinking… several times during the season we achieved 8-game winning streaks, but couldn’t get to 9. If we win on Friday, we’ll be at 8. Perfect time to make the first 9-game winning streak of the year…

It is interesting how everyone was so quick to give up on this team. I never lost hope, and was so sad when I heard people saying they were going to burn their stuff. Glad to see everyone is back on track, WHITE SOX ALL THE WAY!!

Thanks for the nice post today, which was filled with interesting tidbits and information. Go White Sox!

Oh, and about today’s ticket fiasco, I didn’t have any luck at all, but I guess that was to be expected. I got in right at noon and the wait was already “15 plus minutes.” For the ALDS tickets, I had much better luck. My only problem today was that several times I got a “Proxy Error” screen from Ticketmaster, which then kicked me out and made me start the waiting process all over again.

No system will ever be perfect or make every single person happy, so I guess we have to make due with what we have.

HEY SCOTT, DO u remember when everybody was talking bad stuff about the team, but i always said BELIEVE IN THIS TEAM AND HAVE SOME FAITH.. I never had a second thought about our sox, well maybe was worried at some times, but i knew that they will do it for us. I LOVE THE WHITE SOX AND I WILL ALWAYS DO, EVEN IF WE LOSE… I JUST LOVE THE TEAM.. I LOVE THE WHITE SOX… … SO i know it is hard to get the third win… so i don’t expect our sox to sweep, but it will be nice if they do…,,, SO GO SOX… I Know that Fen’s ground and field and design is a little crazy and tough, but hopefully Garcia will have strike outs u know.. well. GO SOX, GO SOX,, GO SOX.. I BELIEVE WE CAN DO IT, JUST 9 MORE GAMES TO GO, JUST 9.. GO SOX…

. GO SOX, GO SOX,, GO SOX.. I BELIEVE WE CAN DO IT, JUST 9 MORE GAMES TO GO, JUST 9.. GO SOX…

Nice tidbits, but to say there was no problem with the system is completely wrong. There were tons of reported problems, including people getting kicked out of the virtual waiting room line and people being offered tickets only to have the computer shut down their transaction.

I’m with SalukiDave on this one. It isn’t enough that the TM site didn’t melt from the amount of traffic it received. It handled the traffic up until their proxy servers started to melt. I was booted out with errors consistently for 45 minutes. Handling demand is making sure that not only doesn’t the site melt, but that people who were in the queue don’t lose their spot. With the exception of 1 lucky guy I know no one who was successful yesterday. The virtual waiting room method is poorly designed and is buggy.
This was a farce.

Scott,
I love your blog and check it daily. Thanks for doing this, and please don’t give up on blogging again next season. You put a human touch on something that many of use are passionate about. Often times baseball seems too “corporate.” Thanks for being available.

Warning: Happy but hurting Sox fan about to vent.

Here is what I don’t understand…I was clicking back and forth RAPIDLY and REPEATEDLY to purchase tickets…starting at 11:58 so that I would “get in line” first. And yes…I do have high speed internet service.

There is no way that in less than one-half second, over 40,000 people clicked in before me. It told me I was in a virtual line and not to refresh so that I wouldn’t lose my place in line. WHAT A CROCK!

My estimated wait time went from 15 minutes and slowly down to 1 minute…ONLY TO CLIMB BACK UP TO 15 MINUTES before it eventually wound down again. All told it took it nearly 25 minutes to tell me there were no seats available!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

THAT MAKES NO SENSE. AS A LIFELONG SOX FAN WILLING TO DRIVE OVER 12 HOURS FOR ONE GAME, I FEEL VERY CHEATED. I PUT OFF WORK TO TRY AND GET TIX.

I think it’s great that 137,000 people were in line…but think about it…it wasn’t humanly possible for them to all get there LESS than a 1/2 second before I did.

Please further research what happened. I don’t want this to happen again when I try and buy World Series tix.

Sincerly, Aaron 33 year old White Sox Lifer

I get the White Sox wire but I deleted it withough noticing the link to that video. I’d love to see it! Is there a way I can get to it or can someone email me the link? Also, email address is comcast.net….not cocmast.net!

Scott-

This is how amazing White Sox fans are. I was at Game One on Tuesday- and I had just gotten a new cell phone a couple days of earlier. However, amongst all of the high-fiving and rambunctious cheering walking out of the park afterwards- I lost my phone. I thought for sure it was gone (funny thing is I was TRYING to be dissappointed, but nothing could touch that mood I was in!)….but sure enough the next day- I got a call- someone had turned it in!!!

Its funny becasue my background is the picture of Garland pouring the champaign over Buerhle- the lady sure liked that!

This is why its great to be a Sox fan!! I wish I could thank the person who came through so big for me!!

LETS GO TODAY SOX!!!

Ok, not to bring up the past, but tell Jay Mareotti to take a flying leap.. THIS is what a blog is all about. An inside look at our team.. and understanding of the mood in the clubhouse that wouldn’t have. AND a place where true fans can celebrate, commiserate and just share. I can hardly wait until game time. I have such faith in these guys!!!! -Dawn

I’m also a registeresd user for the White Sox Wire and for some reason did not get the last issue and would really like to see that Highlight Video again. Any chance someone could forward to me also?

Ditto..I’m a user and have never received the White Sox Wire. I tried to go and re-register, but it wouldn’t let me.

I am also a registered user and didnt receive the white sox wire. I would love to see that highlight video. Can some email it to me? Thanks scott and fellow sox fans!

Dawn, Dawn,Dawn,my beloved cybersister….why spoil our day by invoking the name of the Italian Weathervane?(to those of you of Italian descent,I apologize)He is absolutely innocuous,as are the rest of the band-wagon jumping print people….some of whom are actually discovering that there is another baseball team who plays here south of State and Madison…

Now, onto today’s thoughts…First off, if Wakefield throws the same slop up to the plate as he did Saturday last against New York,Greg Walker should ORDER,not just tell his guys to lay off some of the pitches that dip,dart and dive up to the plate…His(Wakefield)success will come only if the wind is blowing in,because that willl help the “dancing medicine show”drive batters nuts…However, if the wind is blowing out,then all bets are off…because a knuckleball that doesn’t knuckle well can go for a long ride…Here’s hoping that the boys can tattoo the Monster with a barrage of balls so hard and often that the folks who operate the scoreboard out there get a headache from the relentless pounding…

By the way, did anyone see Dan Roan’s stand-ups on the Ch 9 newscast last night…He was stationed out in front of Fenway, and over his left shoulder was a sign that read,and I quote:”FENWAY PARK…AMERICA’S MOST BELOVED BALLPARK.” Not that I get in the habit of defending things North Side,but there may just be some people out there who would give that designation to the Neverland found at the four corners of Clark,Addison,Waveland and Sheffield…this will also be the LAST good thing said about THAT subject…

About Konerko and the others who felt sorry for Tony Graffanino after game two, all I can say is this…save your sympathies for AFTER the season…then you can commiserate,NOT before…I don’t give a rat’s rear aperture about how good a guy he is when he’s in the wrong uniform…

I know tomquaid…but I just had to point out once again how idiotic and off base he is..THIS is what a fan blog should be. My phrase of the day is…..rat’s rear aperture. I shall use it whenever I can today in tribute of you =)

All I have to say TQ is that both of those two ballparks mentioned above are complete and absolute dumps.

Is it me or did we have a visit from kenwo in the last blog entry? I think he was there and sounds nothing like the person who hated this team and said there is no way they could win.

I think the Sox will take care of Wakefool today. The Sox have a great deal of momentum and we need to end this thing as soon as possible. I can’t wait for game time.

kr-trepac…reading my mind. I was going to reply back to kenwo and say those same things, but…decided it wasn’t worth my energy. =)
Less than 4 hours!!! -Dawn

kenwo4life…regarding your comments last night about tickets…I’m not going to lecture about this topic, but suffice it to say that the people who are freezing their rear apertures(hi,Dawn)off in April are deserved of the opportunity to take in post-season games,because they made the commitment for the long haul…However, it doesn’t always work out that way…Not to disclose anything about my personal likfe and struggles,but I have not been to the Cell at all this year,nor do I expect to be there at anytime in the future,should the season be extended…I don’t grouse about it, because I’m perfectly happy to sit home with Rooney and Farmer on the radio,with the TV on(sound down)with my scoresheets living vicariously with the boys through the magic of my imagination…The best part of that is…I don’t have to pay the ridiculous concession prices for food and drink…And if the action gets dull(as it sometimes can),I can go take a nap and not get jostled by Sox Security and told to take a hike…Priorities,my friend kenwo,priorities….

did anyone get the link to the highlight video??

I threw away the email by accident and didn’t get a chance to read it. If anyone gets it, please make it available to everyone else here.

I even looked all over the White Sox site and haven’t found anything. HELP!!

Me too!

I have the same problem as a lot of people here: I missed out on the video!! I would really like to get my hands on it, anyone care to help me out?

It is less than three hours till first pitch,and the level of anxious I had on Tuesday has returned…I know down deep that(fingers crossed)everything is going to go well today…If it does,look for video highlights tonight of thousands of Bostonians jumping into the Charles River…
May I suggest to the traveling party and the Chisox contingent of the media circus that after the final out is recorded,and it is indeed a Whit Sox LDS winner,that you don’t even bother going to the clubhouse to change or get quotes or video or audio or anything else, because the Fenway Faithful will be waiting to lynch anyone who isn’t a Bo-Sox…or maybe even those who are…

Hey.kr.trepac, back from lunch in Macomb yet? Your presence is required in front of the set,if superstitions are to be followed…

Scott, great blog, but the ticketmaster thing was a fiasco and needs to be worked out. First, the Suntimes reported that 40M tickets where sold for 4 games, 10M a game. The rest went to MLB & season ticket holders. How many tickets went to season ticket holders? How many went to MLB? How are brokers able to have them on line approx 1/2 hour after they go on sale for over $2000.00 ? How does this happen?
Next, I was on the website exactly at noon ( I refreshed the site until I got in), put in my request for tickets, actually got 2 tickets for game 1, lower reserved, only to be kicked out to the start page when I put in my credit card information. Then I went in again ( to get 2) and it said, “to many tickets for my password”? I didn’t enter a password and the minimum was supposed to be four tickets. The drop box said you could only get 1 ticket, So I clicked on that, & it still did not work.

So after 1/2 hour of waiting, I checked on stub-hub, and there was already tickets on there for game 1, 100 level tickets for over $1,000.00 to $2,000 a ticket. Meanwhile , all 4 games are sold out.

This seems very Cub like. How does this happen? I have heard several conspiracy theories, would like your opinion…

Scott, isn’t this wonderful? People are b****ing and moaning about NOT being able to get tickets, when a couple of years ago(upcoming comment made tongue-in-cheek)the PR department had to pay people to come in to see the boys…

Thanx also for the promptness in getting the on-line game notes out through MLB Press Pass…Now, I gotta go to get my scoresheet ready for another day of(hopefully)fun…

I’ve been glued to the Weather Channel for the last hour or so. I hope to God they don’t try to rain on our parade. As for today, we need to bury them. The last thing we need is Curt Schilling and his bloody sock trying to play the role of saviour. Get after ‘em tonight fellas. “Sweep the leg, Johnny, no mercy”!

tomquaid, great point. I only have one other thing to offer: 1 person has problems: no big deal, 2 people coincindence, 3 is evidence.
last I checked more than 3, so legitimate beef, not bi… & moaning. Have a nice day.

2 hours, 2 minutes to gametime.

Scott – love the snippet about Reinsdorf and his John Wayne figurine. Would love to read a separate blog on people’s baseball-related superstitions. I bet there are some good ones out there.

I’m trying to convince the president of my company to close the office at 3:00 and let everyone head out to watch the game. If it doesn’t work out, my little Casio TV is ready to go.

Let’s go White Sox!!! Bring it home!!!

Here’s the link to the highlight video. http://click.mlb.com/ct/click?q=09-jooSIj8~wJssis7LYYSbBtp9

jmoles is a god(dess)!! Thank you so much!! GO SOX!! -Dawn

jmoles, you are the man. Thanks a ton.

Is it just me, or are our crowds by far the craziest of the 8 teams currently being televised?

It’s because we’ve waited so long for a good team in the postseason. Everyone is just so excited and I think that’s why there is so much energy at the Cell.

Thanks jmoles.

Go Sox!!!

Sox fans,
As a true Cub fan, I enjoy reading the other side. I have been in here and been critical of the Sox. I come in today with some comments for all of you.

First

palehoses, manausa, dbrusa, and tquaid. Many of the lost fans of the Sox can learn from your passion. fans like you would actually fill the Cell. The blog deck has a large band-wagon and its kind of you to let the scrubs on.

Second:

klein and kr-trepac…go back for the last two weeks and read how you gave up. You questioned the abilities of your team and manager only to jump back on when winning and comment on the genius of them.

tquaid- Simple physics…if the wind is blowing out, the drag on the knuckle ball increases because the pitch is thrown into the wind, thus it dances more.. see Bernoulli. When wind blows in the wind it is behind the ball pushing it, less drag, less dance…easier to hit. Ask a thrower what they’d prefer.

Tquaid-you are right about the parks. trepac that’s why your an idiot…you don’t need a gun and auto-alarm to go to Wrigley.

I love the smack and am always ready to contribute….but like tquaid…this will be the last time this comes from me. Good luck to the true fans…you deserve it for your loyalty.

jmoles your a god!

You all assume jmoles is a guy…..I don’t know whether he is male or female, but just a friendly reminder that there are female fans around =) 24 minutes and counting!! -Dawn

Easy cub fan, you’re wrong. You can’t show me more than once where I bad mouthed the White Sox. I was down on Carl, but that’s about it. I’ve been positive and telling others to not give up. The other regulars around here can verify that. And you are the idiot because we don’t need guns & car alarms either and your place is still a dump.

WOO HOO…we did it…THANK YOU!!! Bring on the next victim!!! -Dawn

I LOVE this team! Everyday, someone different steps up. Today: Hernandez. Wednesday: Tadahito. Tuesday: AJ. They are the very definition of “team”. Way to go, guys! WAY TO GO!!!

After the party they were having in new england with the world series and 2 super bowls, you just knew someone would have to pull their broom out and do a little sweeping.

What a great week. I don’t know about everyone else, but i want the spotlight to be on the alcs, so come on yankees…

GO SOX!!!

And let’s hope for some better luck when tix for the series come out. I figure im due to get through.

Holy ****… we did it.

I’d also like to play the Yankees over the Angels… I say bring em on.

Cardiac Kids is what I’m referring to them as. THAT WAS TOTALLY AWESOME! My adrenline is just now coming back down. Mere words can’t explain everything I’m feeling. I luv you guys!

my two cents worth. what a great win, and an awsome performance by el duque! i said to myself that bringing him with the bases loaded wasn’t fair to him. he showed me that he truly is a big game picther. i’m still shaking my head about their not pushing at least one more run across in the 6th. this is our 8th win in a row and you all know what that means, three losses and then another eight straight. that would be ok, but would rattle a lot of nerves. i look forward to playing whomever is left to face us. i’d prefer the yankees, but want to be careful what i wish for. is there any way to get one ticket for tues or wed if i come up from kentucky? way to go sox!! j.k. in tucson….

p.s., to ityszka, i never questioned our abilities or aplauded when genius as you say when we won. you must have confused me with one of your cub friends. i still don’t understand why cub fans don’t rally around the only team in town that’s left, i root for team first, then city, state, conference, etc. in that order, i was behind you guys in ’03, but that was a long time ago. go sox…. j.k. in tucson.

Jmoles, thanks a lot.. but I can’t watch the highlight video!?!!?! Windows Media Player doesn’t recognize the extension. The downloadend file is only 1 kb.. Can anybody help me?

jasper, I just clicked on the link and it works fine for me in WM player. That link again is:
http://mfile.akamai.com/10869/wmv/mlb.download.akamai.com/10869/2005/open/teams05/cha/video/100305_cha_end_season_highlight_350.wmv

jasper, your media player does not have the proper codec(your computer is probably older, at least as far as computers go… it’s not just the media player, i not only upgraded that to no avail, but also tried other players, same thing). Wish i knew what you needed, because i need it to. But rather than immerse myself in the exciting realm of file extensions and decoding to fix the problem, i just had a buddy download it and watched it on his computer. I suggest you do the same.

Too bad. Thanks a lot for the help guys. I’m gonna try that ‘buddy-download-thing’haha! Thanks anyway!

For anyone looking for tickets i have 2 extrhttp://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=6568644364&rd=1&sspagename=STRK%3AMESE%3AIT&rd=1a,

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